An art day

It’s been a funny kind of a day today, and I suppose there’s something about the moon or this heat or something, because I woke up feeling super down.

R and I were listening to the Sound of the 60s on BBC 4 over our breakfast in bed. Usually we end up bopping away to the silly songs, but today the songs just made me feel weepy. Especially the song Blackbird.

And I don’t even know why…that’s the drag of it all. I mean, nothing really happened at all! Maybe it’s last night’s bad sleep or a couple small annoyances that added up to a major downer…I don’t really know. But R just hugged me thru it and told me that all we are are tiny, insignificant carbon-based lifeforms, spinning gently on this tiny planet, around a little burning star, in an obscure section of the Milky Way, a tiny galaxy in a universe of billions of galaxies, with other life forms thinking that they’re all alone out there, and right now, this moment, everything’s fine right here with us…and it was.

Today was going to be an easy, stay at home kind of day for me. R had a client come today with his mini to have R map the engine, and so I took the afternoon to paint.

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I started the kingfisher the other day on a page from a 1920′s copy of Grieg’s Sigurd Jorsalfar, and so I finished him today.

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But what I really wanted to paint was a blackbird. One page didn’t seem like enough, so I took out two middle pages from the same Grieg and started these.

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Many more layers of dark paint and then I’ll stand them on fence posts.

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I was looking thru some photos and found a few of some fireweed, (willowherb in the UK). Maybe I’ll paint a bunch of fireweed behind and around my blackbirds.

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Actually, I’ve been taking a bunch of random country photos these days because I think I’d like to paint an oil of a pastoral scene of some kind and my photos usually serve as terrific reference for paintings.

I snapped this one, (like a lot of them), while R was driving yesterday.

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You know, at the time I took this one, I thought to myself, “will that dead spiderweb show up” and then I though, “No, it probably wont.”

Well, actually, what I managed was to give myself a webby Dali moustache. :D

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Big hugs, and I hope you all have a brilliant, happy and relaxing Sunday, which ever corner of the ol’ globe you’re in.

Inner Eye, Susan’s wonderful drawing challenge

Last week, Ariane announced that Susan had offered “Inner Eye” as this weekend’s drawing challenge.

I happily jumped at the chance to participate. Inner eye, how hard can that be?

Turns out that it was pretty hard for me. I don’t mean difficult as in technique, I mean difficult as in feeling satisfied with an image to depict the subject.

I think I drove Robert crazy with the constant reevaluating.

At first I broke down the inner eye, the third eye, the Sanskrit Ajna, the Shiva Hakini, three petals of the white lotus, moon and sun, my yoga practice…there’s too much, you know? In the end I was most satisfied with the white lotus, and that’s what I started to draw and then paint.

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The painting evolved any old way along my favourite “as the cell divides” method. I used pencils and inks and pens and acrylics and watercolours and charcoals.

I still have Mucha in my mind and so it took on a somewhat Art Nouveau bend. I still have Klimt in my mind and so some of Klimt’s colours and shapes popped in. And, by this morning, I put this painting down and had a big sigh.

I’m not satisfied with it.

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The more I looked at the white lotus on that yellow, golden background, the more I wasn’t satisfied with it, the more I came to Poe.

The lotus reminded of my favourite Poe story, Silence, a Fable, and the following:
“The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue –and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads.”

And, while I read it, I looked at the amazing art of William Heath Robinson.

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And this afternoon I picked up a page of Chums; a boy’s magazine from 1910.

I started to draw the white lotus again, ghastly and ghostly in it’s sickly hued morass, sighing, unto the others.

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This time I’m satisfied. :D

Come have a look at Susan’s site and our friends’ wonderful ideas about this challenge.

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Theo died

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The truth about love is that it’s a beast with sharp razor blades for teeth. It must be. How else do you explain the pain in my heart and these burning tears?

Robbie was with him in the end. Robbie brought him home and dug a hole under the roses in our Oxfordshire garden and laid Theo to rest wrapped in his turquoise blanket.

And we cried together. And we talked for hours and remembered him.

In our life together with his and her’s houses and his and her’s countries, he was something we truly shared. Our little shining light. A spirited little boy, full of personality. He found us four years ago. He was sickly and emaciated and we nursed him back to health. We never knew how old he was or how long we got to have him, but we needed him as much as he needed us.

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Friday creative energy

It’s been a topsy-turvy sort of day round here. Robert has had to return to England and I have obligations here for a few more weeks, and so, missing him very, VERY, VERY HUGE AMOUNTS, I always flip into loads of work and projects to make the time flow by as smoothly as possible.

I spoke to R this evening and told him we’ve had hail, rain, sun, sleet…all the above.

He said that somehow we’d figure it was his fault for leaving. YEAH…that’s it! :D

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Today I took my lonesome self into the silversmith studio.
I have it in mind to maybe make 10 pieces of jewellery before the art in the garden show.

So armed with countless cups of tea, garden tulips and and some imagination, I got to work.

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I made this little beach glass and carnelian ring. What do you think?
I’m worried that it’s still all amateur hour here.

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I did have a terrific amount of frustration making this ring though; including two melted bezel cups and an incomplete soldering of bezel to ring, which came apart as I was trying to polish it and I had to start all over again…for the third time. I started to despair that I’ll ever be a decent silversmith.

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But I did have a success! I did make this feather which I rather like.

I have to figure out a better way to score silver though. (so much I don’t know yet). I think I might make this into a little necklace. I fancy hanging a few feathers like this from a little silver branch. That might be nice.

I’m so glad you’re all sticking with me in this discovery of the silversmithing process.

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I’ve been moving the garden parrot tulips around with me and finally they ended up in the last of the evening sunshine and looked so lovely I took these photos.

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Perhaps tomorrow I’ll concentrate on painting for the art show and give my poor inept silversmithing muse a break.

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When it rains…it’s just fine

There’s nothing wrong with the rain.
I think that the problem is really all this sun! And it hasn’t rained in days.
Yup, it’s been that kind of week round here.

I’m having a miserable, rotten cold, PMS and migraine, plus, today, a pipe burst outside, just under the patio.
Thank you Universe! That’s a lot of Zen you’re asking for. :?
I think you can completely understand the contents of my shopping cart:

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OK, to tell the truth, one of those chocolate bars did go back onto the shelf, and there were also bananas (not pictured).

I think we both feel a bit…meh…

Chloe’s university is on reading break this week and she’s taking full advantage of that.

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I’ve cleaned up and organised the library/family room and it’s been lovely hanging out there with my books and my biggest mug of hot Earl Gray tea.

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This is also the only room in the house with a TV. (We’re not big on TV and I fully subscribe to the notion that one TV in a house is enough, (if not too much), for any family). Along with the one TV policy is also the basic cable only policy. Which costs $5 more than the basic internet feed and means that we basically get about 20 channels and only about three are worth watching for the occasional news cast, although it’s usually so sensationalised that it winds me right up.

But it’s been lovely having those three channels to watch some of the Olympics. And that’s exactly what C and I did with our tea and our blankies. We watched the opening ceremonies. Did anyone watch them? I must admit that the part where communism was depicted was tremendously difficult for me to watch, having escaped from Prague and from communism. But I reminded myself that it’s all history and individual people who also suffered, who also would have chosen a different way if they could have. And here was my beautiful child beside me watching, also feeling angry about the lack of human respect and gay rights and captured whales, and she was mustering the same amount of Zen I was to rise above it and enjoy the spectacle.

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I only managed one more page in my personal journal. The words which spoke to me formed these two sentences:

“Approach the known fortress. The list of formidable attractions are jewels for the shop and community.”

I didn’t know why I was moved to draw my own personal Ganesha on that page because the words were telling me that I should believe in myself, that the gifts I have, that I can bring to you all, are like jewels.

And then the pipe burst.

And then I approached the fortress that is plumbing and hidden shut off valves behind little painted over panels, and main water valves in the house and overbearing tiredness and sniffy nose and crampy tummy and headache…and still have to go make supper… then I knew. Ganesha, remover of obstacles. Fortresses beyond the Etsy shop, beyond the business of my art. Approaching the fortress of every day life. I’m so very grateful that I’ve created my own personal Ganesha to remove the obstacles in my path.

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I’m on the mend now, my good friend Leo has been by and told me the house won’t fall down and that he’ll replace the pipe just as soon as the weather warms, supper is made and I’m about to catch up on today’s Olympic highlights on one of the three channels and drink my tea. Go team Canada/England/Czech Republic! (Yeah I know, I have a split personality nationality) :D

In the mean time, should you need your own personal Ganesha, then just let me know and I’ll be very happy to make you one and send him out to you.

x

Really random Friday

It’s funny but today I don’t seem to have much to say.

So…I’m glad it’s sunny this morning.
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Woke up at 3am from a nightmare. Nightmare carried on each time I closed my eyes and so I just got fed up and got out of bed. A family issue which is causing me a lot of pain and reflection keeps being played out over and over in my no-limits imagination and sometimes takes hold and 3am and then that’s it. No amount of meditation, self talk, or any other activity can lessen the pain and then I just spend the next day or two seeing things in black and white, and so I’m trying to concentrate on the good things.

So…I’m happy that the morning went from this:

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To this:
Also happy that I live in a city where the snow knows its place…on top of the mountains.

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Yesterday I had very low energy and so spent most of the day playing with some mixed media in the studio and came up with these art cards.

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So now I have a stack of mixed media art cards around…these are just the ones I had on hand, never mind the ones in the drawers.

Don’t know what to do with them. A new friend on FB asked me if I sell them…more to the point…where I sell them, and honestly I don’t know what to do. I have absolutely no idea if they are sell-worthy, although I suspect not, and sort of prefer the thought of actually sending them out to people who want them, or who would like to trade art cards or something…maybe sending one out with a purchase from an Etsy shop, (which by the way I still haven’t started…need a good kick in the…)

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I asked Robert if he liked the little thoughts i constructed on them and he said the sweetest thing. He said, “Your words are like a trampoline for my imagination.” Couldn’t you just melt? I know!

The sayings are a little bit of found poetry from the pages of a weird little book called “The Brief History of the Wellington Boot.” I’m always amazed at the good words still left in that much used book.

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Aaand…

… Oh, bought a pretty little beaded purse for no reason at all except that it’s pretty.

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Sharing with Nancy and all my random Friday friends.

Last randomness from E

So, it’s almost that time again, I have to switch countries.

Yesterday Robbie and I took down the Christmas tree and all the deckies. We kept it up extra long because neither one of us really wanted Christmas to end, (even though we did tell ourselves that our visiting friends Chris and Diane needed to see the tree), actually, deep down we both know that our time in E is coming to a close and it’ll be 2-3 months before we are together again and neither one of us wants that, but then neither one of us wanted the inevitability of R having to take down the tree and deckies by himself…too sad.

So the only thing Christmas left at the cottage is this basket of nuts and one box of R’s After Eights. (we also finished the Christmas cake last night)

But then, it’s time to focus on spring and new projects.
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Took Theo to the vet this week because he was acting like perhaps something was stuck in his teeth, or his mouth. The vet found a loose and infected tooth…poor old buddy…and she hoiked it out :( and sent us away with anti-inflammatory drops for him, which will also help his arthritis in the cold weather.

We also found out that he’s lost a bit of weight, which we don’t like, so we’ve been spoiling him rotten with assorted bowls of yumminess. We thought his head might explode at the choices, but he just dives right in!

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This winter R and I completed a few projects, like insulating a part of the attic space previously uninsulated, and clearing out and reorganising the shed…you know…those mundane type things no one really wants to tackle. So we’re really happy it’s done!

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I did some research and found out that there is no easy way I can take my orchid to Vancouver…barring three separate permits and inspections to protect Canada from imported British pests and diseases…Boo! That means I’ve just lumbered Robbie with a fifth house plant to take care of while I’m not here, and while I take houseplants as a replaceable commodity, he takes it all very seriously and wants them to survive and be happy until I get back. And he’s not a plants person at all! Poor R.

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But for now, we still have a couple of days and open fires and healthy Theo and each other. Counting our blessings. :)

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Sharing with Nancy and the random crew. :)

Whirlwind days

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I’m sure we’re all feeling much of the same sameness, aren’t we? ‘Tis the time for Christmas magic, visiting good friends, running around like crazy trying to get everything done and fitting in the unexpected.

Us? We’re baking a giant Christmas cake this evening and will continue baking it to about 10pm. (I know, what are we like?)

Yesterday was a glorious day. The sun was mostly shining and we were invited to friends for lunch and supper.
We left a little past 11am and returned a little past 11pm. (Theo was not impressed with us)

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We visited Catherine, bringing prezzies and hugs. We played with the beautiful Jet in the sunroom and coaxed Sable down from the linen closet. We chatted and hugged and had a lovely time, and said our goodbyes and drove to Geoff and Dawnie’s to see Geoff’s wonderful car collection, Dawnie’s stunning horse Murphy and have the loveliest supper with them. Dawnie had just come back from riding Murphy at Windsor Castle in the Windsor Great Park by special permission. That must have been something special; riding your horse in the Queen’s back yard.

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Today we’ve had several power cuts. The weather had been Wagnerian to say the least, with heavy rain and fierce trees-down winds. Robert’s childhood friends lost their mother and her funeral was today. So we drove the 35 miles to a beautiful little village with a beautiful little stone church which shook and rattled in the wind and supported our friends and their family in their grief. After the service we followed the pallbearers up the hill and into the grave yard watched them lay their mother to rest.

The vicar’s words resonated with me, “Farewell, dear Voyageur – ’twill not be long.
Your work is done – now may peace rest with thee.”

Linking with Mary at the Little Red House and wishing everyone a tranquil last couple of days before a magical Christmas. :D

Special, true moments

I was thinking that the last year of my father’s life we drove to his cabin on as many weekends as we could. He loved it there.
Up there on East Twin Lake, six hours out of the city, up there with the loons, the morning moose, the northern lights and the millions of stars making up the milky way, up there he was at peace.

One time we left Vancouver quite late and got there after dark. I remember driving along the dirt road and the headlights illuminating the bone-white birch trees on either side and I remember seeing a cameo reflection of those birch trees in a puddle in the pitted path. It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and, combined with the harsh winter settling in, and not knowing if my father would be able to visit again, I captured that image in my memory.

This painting was born from that memory. I like it here, in the hallway outside my bedroom. I haven’t hung it on the wall because I like the way the lamp light puddles the image. I’m not sure I’ll ever hang it up.

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Do you have a visual memory of a special, extraordinary moment? I don’t really know why, but seeds from the garden always remind me of my grandfather.

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I suppose that, growing up in Europe where things are treasured and shared more than they are here in the North American built-in obsolescence consumerism culture, I remember my grandfather folding little paper envelopes to store his garden seeds in.

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I remember doing that with him while he wrote the botanical names of the plants on the outside of the paper. That’s something I’m always compelled to do…to collect and store the seeds form the garden flowers, (and paint puddle paintings…lol) But what does one do with millions of white Japanese anemone seedlings, or a grove of maples?

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Mind you, as I was carrying the trumpet vine seed heads thru the house, seven seeds fell to the floor and I scooped them up in my hand. I put them on the mantle. I think they’ll stay there for a while.

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Snow puddle painting: Oil on canvas
Fox: Oil on the cut-off end of last year’s Christmas tree

It is what it is

The other day I had a minute to sit in Sbux and read the local paper.

Gotta love the headline:

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So among the very useful tips to beat the winter blahs are: eat at a Mexican restaurant to trick your mind, wear brighter colours and get plenty of sleep.

If only I could!!! Ok, I can do a coloured scarf and I can eat Mexican and love it, but the sleep…

Let me tell you why I can’t sleep around here. It’s because there are gun shots going off in my house all night and it’s been happening for a month now. The gun shots are the noises that the floor makes as the planks crack down the seams and separate.

I know. I KNOW!!! Can you believe the nightmare this floor has become? The trouble is that not only are the planks separating along the seams but occasionally the seam won’t give way and the actual plank tears, as in this next pic. Some gaps are now about 2mm, while others are slimmer, but the whole edge is rough and catches on socks, stockings and cat hair. There is no way to sweep up the floor now and I’m worried that dirt and dust will start to accumulate within the floor because, after all, we live here!

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So these days I’m trying to function on about 4-5 hours of sleep, but still, there’s lovely morning sun in my bedroom…

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And wonderful people watching around town.

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Get a load of those feet!!!

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Fantastic parks with snow capped mountains and forests to hike around in.

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And, if all else fails, there’s always cookies.

Here is a brilliant article someone posted to my FB today. Got to get rid of the stress and start meditating again.

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